PAI buys into Yoplait

The French private equity house has agreed to purchase 50 per cent of the international yoghurt brand from its consortium of more than 13,500 dairy farmers.

PAI, the French private equity firm, has agreed to buy 50 per cent of Yoplait, the international yoghurt brand, from Sodiaal, a consortium of some 13,500 French diary farmers for an undisclosed sum.

Sodiaal retains 50 per cent of the business, which PAI hopes to float within the next two years.

According to PAI, Yoplait is the number two player in the global yoghurt and fresh dairy products market. Its offerings are sold in more than 50 countries through local subsidiaries, joint ventures, or franchises. The aim of the deal is develop additional products and increase marketing efforts to increase Yoplait’s worldwide market presence in the rapidly growing dairy foods sector.

Yoplait, formed in 1964, has four factories, two logistics centres and a research arm in Europe. At these facilities the firm employs more than 5,200 people and produces several subordinate brands including Petits Filous, Frutos, Yop, Perle de Lait, and Panier de Yoplait.

But according to Amaury de Seze, CEO of PAI, there is still room to grow. 'The quality of the company’s management and staff is remarkable, as evidenced by the company's track record, but there remains a considerable development potential, ' he said.

Sodiaal has four core activities, Yoplait – fresh dairy products, Candia – drinking milk, Riches Monts – cheese and Sodiaal Industrie – industrial products and milk ingredients, combined these units secure an annual turnover of more than E2.75bn. Yoplait, with its combined worldwide turnover per annum of more than E2bn forms the lion share of this income.

PAI, formerly Paribas Affaires Industrielles, is headquartered in Paris with additional offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Madrid and Milan. The firm invests predominantly in the food and beverage market. Other food groups the firm has committed to include United Biscuits, Mivisa, and Royal Canin.